President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday asked the Senate and the National Assembly to end the dispute over Division on Revenue Bill, 2019 to keep the public from suffering.
The two Houses have long disagreed over the crucial bill that allocates funds to the two levels of government.
Whereas the National Assembly has proposed that counties get Sh316 billion, the Senate wants them allocated Sh327billion.
Governors have moved to the Supreme Court to challenge the division of shareable revenue.
As the dispute rages, on, county operations have stalled as thousands of workers have not been paid their July salaries while hospitals are running short of drugs due to lack of supply.
In an address to members of the Nakuru County assembly on Wednesday, President Kenyatta asked the houses to reach an agreement to allow the government to release funds to the devolved units.
He noted, however, that the government’s resources are still limited so counties will not get a higher allocation.
“Sometimes we tend to think and operate as if money is raining from heaven. Our resources are limited,” Mr Kenyatta said after opening Ugatuzi Plaza that houses the Nakuru assembly chamber.
He went on to say, “Why don’t you approve this bill so that workers in counties are paid their salaries and drugs are to our hospitals? Why are we punishing our people who woke very early in the morning to que and vote for us by spending a great deal of time arguing for more money, which is not there in the first place.”
The President also said, “We are arguing at the expense of suffering innocent citizens. I plead with the two Houses to agree on this bill and pass it so that money is released for service delivery.
“What are you arguing about? If that additional money you are pushing for was there my government would not hesitate to release it.”
Mr Kenyatta noted that upon taking power in 2013, his government increased the equitable share for counties from 15 per cent to 30 per cent.
“May be I did wrong to approve that increase. It has now been taken for granted that there is money. We can only give what we have,” he said.
“Let us take what we have and if there is more revenue generation, the government will release more money to the counties,” said Mr Kenyatta.
The President pointed out that devolution is not about competition between the two levels of governments but about complementing the government in improving service delivery.
He lauded the Nakuru assembly for cutting the foreign trips budget and allocating the money to development projects in the 55 wards.
“That is a true sign of mature leadership. I urge the other 46 counties to borrow a leaf from Nakuru and redirect the money to where it will make a big impact on the lives of citizens,” said the President.
“This is the spirit to be emulated in all counties because it is working for the good of citizens despite the limited resources. This is commendable.”
Mr Kenyatta assured Nakuru residents that his government is fully committed to revival of the pyrethrum sub-sector and construction of Nakuru International Airport at Lanet.
“Nakuru occupies a special place in this country as it is the face of Kenya. All communities are well represented,” he said and called for peace among all the communities. “When Nakuru is at peace Kenya is peaceful.”
He steered off national politics, reiterating that “this is not the time for politics because time will come when we shall do politics”.
“For now my focus is development,” he said.
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Publish date : 2019-08-15 08:43:19